Superstar concert announced
Ticket update: Willie, Lyle Lovett, the Dixie Chicks and more will perform atFire Relief: The Concert for Central Texas
Editor's note: This story update includes ticket sales information added after the 2pm press conference.
You can call it a full blown mega-benefit concert complete with high dollar sponsorships, VIP tickets, a silent auction and an A-list gathering of superstar performers. The show, scheduled for 7pm October 17th at the University of Texas Frank Erwin Center, is being called Fire Relief: The Concert for Central Texas.
- Willie Nelson
- Lyle Lovett
- The Dixie Chicks
- Asleep at the Wheel
- Steve Miller, with Eric Johnson & Joe Satriani
- Shawn Colvin & the Court Yard Hounds
- The Texas Tornados
And there is huge buzz that George Strait will also be appearing, but there is no official confirmation so far. Organizers say, "We can neither confirm nor deny George Strait as a performer in the wildfire relief concert." Take that for what it's worth; if he wasn't performing, wouldn't they just say "no"? Ray Benson, responding to the George Strait question said "No one has turned us down because they don't want to do it." He made it clear more artists are trying to fit the concert into their tour schedules.
Count Willie Nelson among them. Willie is on tour now and is scheduled to perform in Akron, Ohio the next day. Enter philanthropist Mort Topfer. The Topfer's offered to fly Willie into town and back again in order to be part of this event. Willie accepted and will perform with the Asleep at the Wheel band.
Friday Night Lights star and recent Emmy Award winner Kyle Chandler will share hosting duties with writer and documentary filmmaker (and Sopranos star) Turk Pipkin.
The concert is being organized by a large group of Austin musical movers and shakers, including guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson who was credited with the idea, Ray Benson and Peter Schwarz and their company Bismeaux Records, Michael Hall, Turk Pipkin, C3 Presents and Louis Messina and The Messina Group (TMG), which incidentally also has a relationship with George Strait.
The University of Texas Frank Erwin Center is involved, hosting both the announcement today and the concert next month. The Erwin Center is only charging their hard costs for the event which organizers say will save tens of thousands of dollars. Funds will be gathered and distributed by the Austin Community Foundation.
Organizers say many details are still being worked out with sponsors being brought on board, some sponsorships may go as high as $100,000.
It's clear this is a labor of love and caring by the organizers. "I have friends who lost homes. They live humbly, they don't have a lot," said Eric Johnson. "Whatever we are able to do will be a beautiful drop in the bucket."
Tickets for the 7pm show go on sale Friday through Texas Box Office. Reserved seats will cost $25, $35 and $100, while VIP floor tickets will be $250. Tickets will also be offered free to victims of the fires.
"Many in our community lost more than their belongings. They lost their livelihoods, their small farms and ranches," said organizer Michael Hall. "We hope to raise money in order to help long term for people who will need it."
"One million dollars won't go very far," added Ray Benson, "but with all the other community events, it will certainly help."
The Fire Relief concert is just the latest wildfire relief event planned by Austin's artistic elite. Richard Linklater, who lives in Bastrop, held a premier showing of his new film Bernie with Jack Black in attendance this past weekend, raising over $100,000 for wildfire victims, while C3 Presents announced today that they collected over $20,000 at Austin City Limits Music Festival and contributed another $15,000 in matching funds.
Initial estimates show fire losses in Central Texas reaching $250 million.
Tickets go on sale at noon, Friday, September 23rd at all Texas Box Office locations including online, by phone, and at participating HEB locations. Normal ticket fees are being waived for this event.